Evaluation of a Cognitive Behavioural Programme for Menstrual Pain Management in Women With an Intellectual Disability
S. Kennedy1,2,3, C. Willig1, B. McGuire4
1City University London, Department of Psychology, United Kingdom
2Brothers of Charity Services Galway, Ireland
3City University London, Department of Psychology, United Kingdom
4National University of Ireland, School of Psychology & Centre for Pain Research, Galway, Ireland
Background: The aims were to develop and evaluate a theory-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) programme for menstrual pain management in women with an intellectual disability. Process evaluation was conducted to examine which elements of the programme were most successful in promoting change. Methods: Using a mixed methods study design, the programme was delivered to 36 women aged 12 – 30 years with a Mild - Moderate Intellectual Disability. Participants were split between two conditions: (1) the CBT treatment condition (2) treatment as usual. Information was gathered on pain variables including pain impact, pain knowledge, pain self-efficacy and pain coping. Qualitative analysis of information from focus groups was analysed using thematic analysis. Findings: Participation in the CBT group had a positive impact by increasing pain knowledge over time and increasing the use of wellness-focused coping strategies to manage pain in everyday situations. Key themes identified from qualitative analysis included the importance of social support in normalizing the experience of menstrual pain and in the implementation of pain management strategies. Discussion: The results suggest that a CBT programme is effective in achieving improved menstrual pain management amongst women with an intellectual disability